It has at times puzzled me how small things can have an impact far greater than you’d expect give how, well, small they are.
The latest is the DVD of the TV series “ALF”. I recently found them on sale for a very cheap price, and so picked up the entire series. And I’ve been watching it, and at first blush it seems to be pretty much a perfect series to watch for the times when I’m playing or doing other things and want a bit of noise. After all, they’re moderately entertaining but you don’t have to pay a lot of attention to them in order to be entertained, and there isn’t a deep plot that will keep you watching. Perfect light, fluffy entertainment.
Except that it doesn’t have a “Play All” option.
But that really shouldn’t matter, right? Sure, it might be a bit annoying, but how hard is it to just select the next episode?
The problem is that the episodes are about 20 minutes long, and so to watch it I have to stop and select the next episode every 20 minutes. So:
- If I’m on the PC, I have to select every 20 minutes, no matter what I’m doing. It’s a big issue in MMOs and when I writing essays, not so much when I’m just playing PC games (except for ones with real-time combat) and not a problem when I’m just surfing.
- If I’m playing on the PS2, it’s a problem; I am only paying attention in the background and sometimes it’s hard to pause or save while playing on the PS2.
- If I’m doing various household chores, it’s a big problem; I don’t want to have to stop every 20 minutes just to change the background noise.
- If I’m reading, it’s a problem; I have to make sure that I have the remote control handy and remember to look up to, again, change the background noise.
- And, of course, it’s an issue if I’m watching while eating.
Of course, these are all the times that I’d want to watch ALF as opposed to something else like Babylon 5.
Now, other series do this as well, but of the ones I own most of them are 45 minute episodes. It’s easier to switch every 45 minutes — and time for it — than it is for every 20; at least you get a significant amount of time where you can watch it without worrying about changing it.
So, one small thing has turned it into something that I’d probably watch repeatedly a lot to something that I’ll probably watch again at some point.